“We are at the centre of European primary care gastroenterology, providing a voice and giving advice and support to colleagues”
Gastrointestinal and digestive disorders account for one in 10 consultations in primary care, and also the same proportion of referrals to hospital specialists. Whilst some of these conditions are relatively minor, they also include important chronic disorders such as Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, gallbladder disease and diseases of the liver and pancreas.
Taken as a whole the gastrointestinal cancers represent the largest group of malignancies. The costs of investigations and prescribing for gastrointestinal complaints are considerable, and decisions about management guidelines, access to sophisticated investigations and the use of increasingly expensive drugs need to be informed by input from general practitioners with expertise in the management of these conditions.
The ESPCG is ideally placed to provide advice and support through consultation with its committee members drawn from over 20 European countries, its growing membership of general practitioners with special interest and expertise in gastroenterology and also through its close links with specialist gastroenterology organisations such as the United European Gastroenterology Federation.
The ESPCG was established in 1996 by a group of academic general practitioners with an interest in gastroenterology, who believed that there was a need for a European forum for discussion, exchange of ideas and research. They invited National Societies in Europe to help them form a steering committee and opened the ESPCG to individual membership.
Since its foundation, the society has made considerable progress in the Development of primary care gastroenterology through its involvement in the development of European guidelines, its own guidance on the management of conditions in primary care, the support of education of European general practitioners, the conduct and support of research projects on a range of topics across Europe, representation on key committees in organisations such as the UEG and in public relations.